Mansfield Town 0-1 York City [AET] [AGG Mansfield Town 1-2 York City] – Monday 7th May 2012
The quote ‘our greatest glory is not in ever falling, but in rising every time we fall’ is quite apt when you compare the end of our previous two seasons – today’s match of choice is so heart-breaking we pre warn you to have a box of tissues at hand.
It seems such a long time ago since this match but in reality it’s only just over a year since it was played out at the One Call Stadium. Paul Cox was in his first year of management with our beloved side and after a tame and somewhat uninspiring first half to the season had somehow masterminded a post-Christmas turn around which resulted in a third place play-off finish.
It was a 3-0 win at Kidderminster which wrapped the normal season up and only a few days later it was time for battle to begin again as Cox’s Stags travelled to fourth place finishers York City for a play-off showdown. Statistically very little separated the two sides and only our remarkable form marked us as slight favourites for the tie.
Once again this is a match which took place before we met and as such provided different viewpoints. Whilst one was in the press box amongst the York faithful the other was mixed in with the large Stags following both could sense the nerves and neither could predict how the evening of the first leg would unfold.
On reflection now the first leg couldn’t have gone any better, it’s almost as if the gods had said ‘it’s not your time yet’ and acted accordingly. We understand that right now you will be looking at your screen wondering why we are talking such nonsense but ask yourself what would have happened had Matt Green not got sent off or had Exodus not clumsily netted an own goal. We are both of the opinion that in Green’s sending off came a cruel reminder that teams are not built around one player or one specific style of play – Green’s absence in the second leg highlighted that we needed goals from other areas, something we got the following season – you know how that story ends!
The first leg was incident packed and ended level at 1-1, despite losing Green the fact we had home advantage settled the nerves a little. Exactly a year on from our Wembley appearance supporters flocked to The One Call Stadium and there wasn’t a spare seat in the house as the match got underway.
As mentioned the absence of a clear goal scorer was evident and whilst the players gave everything there was just no way to break York down, no matter how hard they tried. The long throw from Geohaghon was a weapon since his arrival but on this day, it was a thorn to our plan as York, to their credit, read it well and defended it with pure ease.
The final chase had taken it’s toll and with the clock ticking on and the game level, the crowd became flat and nervy as did the players, when the whistle blew at the end of the 90 minutes, the facial expressions told the story for what was to follow – defeat.
The boys could run know more and were clinging on, however concentration was becoming more and more lapse, York City were bound to pounce and did in time. Ritchie Sutton was slaughtered for his sending off, we think it was probably frustration to the heartbreak which led to it but there was no need, the video replay will show that Sutton had a choice to make, stop the run or watch us concede a second at a critical stage.
The full time whistle sparked mass celebration for City and a flood of tears for our heartbroken warriors, it’s still hard to take now but we believe that old saying about the gods was right – it wasn’t our time, we had lessons to learn. Look at the picture of Murray in tears and then one year on, look at him lifting the trophy aloft – boy, did we learn our lesson!
To the match itself now and after a level first leg, the game was any ones for the taking with both sides enjoying half chances in the opening ten minutes, former Stag Chris Smith headed well wide from a deep Lanre Oyebanjo free kick after two minutes, before York keeper Micheal Ingham hung onto a forceful Ross Dyer header from a Geohaghon throw as many minutes later.
On 11 minutes the Stags grabbed there first corner of the afternoon following good work between Howell and Roberts, Luke O’Neill’s delivery caused mischief and found Martin Riley whose forceful header through the crowd was scrambled cleared through Matty Blair, stopped in his tracks by Gary Roberts who did extremely well to get back and time the challenge well. Two minutes later the duo collided again, this time York getting a corner following a strong Gary Roberts tackle on Blair, whipped in by Oyebanjo, Exodus Geohaghon headed partly away with the ball landing for Patrick McLaughlin who volleyed well over into the packed QLE from 18 yards.
Exodus Geohaghon got his side in trouble of 15 minutes when he was judged to have put his arm across Jason Walker. Thirty yards from goal the visitors were awarded a free kick which Walker smashed against the wall, sensing opportunity on the break Lindon Meikle covered ground and soon fed the advancing Adam Murray, the passionate skippers shot deflected just wide of Michael Ingham’s post for a corner which was easily dealt with.
Three minutes later Lindon Meikle excelled again down the left flank following strong interchanging play between Briscoe and Roberts, the former the man to send Meikle on his mazy run. The quick footed former Eastwood wide man stepped inside Jon Challinor but failed to beat Ingham, who watched the stinging effort safely into his hands.
Mansfield have excited over the top all season and were at it again in 26 minutes as Luke O’Neill delivered from deep. Ross Dyer had to hold play up with a lack of support but did well to win a free kick right on the edge of the box after spinning past Chris Doig. Gary Roberts’ tryed the spectacular but could only fire against the wall for a throw in, Exodus Geohaghon’s bullet plucked out of the air by the strong Michael Ingham.
As the half hour mark approached, Luke O’Neill had to be at full stretch to cut out Chris Smith’s direction pass from the York defence before two minutes later, his free kick from deep sailed harmlessly away for a goal kick after Anthony Howell was sandwiched on the left hand side.
With ten minutes of the first half to go, Gary Roberts’ attempted switch of play was intercepted by the advancing Lanre Oyebanjo, the York man upended on the edge of the Stags box by Murray who again stood his ground. Patrick McLaughlin stepped up to take the resulting free kick but curled way over the top of Marriott’s cross bar.
Lanre Oyebanjo then showed the Stags it’s not just they who have a long throw weapon, launching one into the middle. Alan Marriott plucked it out the air and immediately sent the ball down field finding Ross Dyer, his pass to put Meikle 1 V 1 with Michael Ingham was just a tad too forceful and the York shot stopper claimed the ball, the story of the first half as it ended as it began, 0-0.
Half Time: Stags 0-0 York (Aggregate 1-1)
Five minutes after the restart it was the visitors that pilled on the pressure, looking to break the deadlock. Alan Marriott didn’t look comfortable as he came to collect a left sided cross from James Meredith, the stags shot stopper spilt the ball into the path of Walker whose effort cannoned away off Martin Riley who read the situation superbly. The move wasn’t dead and it was Jon Challinor who whipped back into the box, Martin Riley was again dominant in the air but seemingly nodded towards goal, Alan Marriott plucked the header out of the air to keep things on an even keel.
Ross Dyer was then guilty of a bit of greed four minutes later as Stags stretched the game from deep. Louis Briscoe provided the chip which put Ross Dyer through, the burley front man got past one before firing straight at Ingham rather than feeding an onside, unmarked Lindon Meikle – however playing the out and out front man role in Green’s absence, you can’t blame Dyer for testing the water.
On the hour mark the game still remained deadlock, Luke O’Neill chipped a free kick from 35 yards out towards the back post for Geohaghon, his header was cleared as far as Briscoe who failed to beat an alert Ingham with the attempted spectacular from the edge of the box. Four minutes later Adam Murray sparked a delightful move on the half way line, turning three before sending the advancing O’Neill down the right, the young full back played a 1-2 with Briscoe and earned a corner with York substitute Adriano Moke making the block. O’Neill’s delivery was strong and again found Geohaghon, his thunderous headed effort from the back post was headed off the line into the path of Briscoe who then fired over on the half volley.
Matt Rhead replaced Anthony Howell as the Stags switched to 4-4-2, the ex Corby man caused trouble but his efforts weren’t matched by his team as, too their credit, the visitors defended a series of O’Neill set pieces resiliently. With 20 remaining Matty Blair did well to take the ball from Lindon Meikle on the left hand side and burst down the wing, the low ball caught both Geohaghon and Riley in a tizz and fell kindly for Adriano Moke, however the York substitute thankfully blazed well over Marriott’s goal, losing his head at the final second.
With the nerves becoming stronger and the passion becoming more and more evident, the referee had to intervene when Chris Smith went in strongly on Meikle, showing the former Stag a yellow card. Louis Briscoe failed to deliver from the resulting free kick right on the edge of the box before Adam Murray volleyed into the hands of Ingham from a Geohaghon throw.
Matt Rhead, Lindon Meikle and Ross Dyer all saw efforts blocked or saved, a final burst of energy in the last minute from Meikle earned the Stags a throw, everyone bar Marriott and Sutton went forward but nobody bar Ingham got to the throw, the minster men keeper collecting un challenged to the sound of the full time whistle, meaning the game headed into extra time, still level both in the second leg and on aggregate.
Full Time: Stags 0-0 York (Aggregate 1-1)
The opening exchanges of the first half of extra time belonged to the visitors as Matty Blair caused havoc on the right hand side, Ritchie Sutton blocked for a corner which was cleared before Blair again weaved through, getting a corner from Geohaghon’s headed clearance. Worked short the visitors tried their luck through substitute Michael Potts, however the shot lacked conviction and was easy for Marriott.
In the pick of the chances at the other end, Lindon Meikle burst clean through with 101 minutes of football played at the One Call, after beating his markers for pace and skill Meikle let a ferocious shot fly, heading towards the top corner Michael Ingham proved the hero to palm away for a corner. Luke O’Neill delivered for Martin Riley who headed agonisingly over the bar.
Lee Stevenson then replaced Louis Briscoe as the Stags again looked to change the dynamic of the game, his first action would come after the turn around – the two teams still level as Marriott palmed away Ashley Chambers’ 105th minute effort.
Extra Time – Half Time Stags 0-0 York (Aggregate 1-1)
Straight from the restart the Stags looked to take advantage as York gave the ball away, Gary Roberts provided the directional ball to Matt Rhead who held up well before feeding Stevenson 25 yards from goal, the former Eastwood goal machine who opened his Stags account at Kidderminster on the final day of the season let fly first time, his shot well collected by Ingham as Lindon Meikle and Ross Dyer both called for a pass.
With time running out legs began to become heavier and the Stags momentary loss of focus stung them as three consecutive throws for York down the left saw them break our hearts in the 110th minute. Jason Walker received Meredith’s throw and whipped in the cross which caught Stags napping, Matty Blair was the villain of the piece for us, as he bundled past Marriott from six yards.
Stags 0-1 York
Buoyed by their goal, York attacked from the restart as the Stags gave it away, goal scorer Blair was free down the right and had to be stopped, Ritchie Sutton did the job but already on a booking, he was shown the second yellow and then a red, his second of the season, reducing Mansfield to ten men, after the game on twitter, a few “supporters” (I use the term very loosely) blamed Sutton for the defeat, something totally wrong and unacceptable.
The Stags refused to take the double blow laying down and with seven to go, nearly saw a repeat of the ties opening goal back from the first leg as Geohaghon launched another throw into the mix for Dyer. This time Micheal Ingham was alert and kept out the header which was heading for the top corner, splendid goalkeeper – I know he got booed and is hated by the majority, but you have to say, he was outstanding for York.
Jason Walker then missed a guilt edge chance to seal the deal with minutes to go, Alan Marriott making a tremendous double save from the deadly striker following Moke’s through ball, Luke O’Neill cleared the third shot from the line as Stags played with just two at the back in desperate search of a leveller. However it just wasn’t to be as the clock ticked down, Michael Ingham and the York back line hung on as Geohaghon, Stevenson, Meikle, Rhead, Dyer and captain fantastic Murray all fired towards goal.
The full time whistle once again brought tears, York City had defeated the Stags, the first team to win at the One Call since November 5th to book their place in the play-off final against Luton, who triumphed over Wrexham 3-2 on aggregate.
Extra Time: Full Time: Stags 0-1 York (Aggregate 1-2)
Below enjoy an additional look down memory lane with video, audio and photos from the day.
Written by Craig Priest & Emily Sykes – The views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations, to submit a blog email email@example.com
Hayes & Yeading Utd 4-0 Mansfield Town – Saturday 9th April 2011
So far with our journey into the unknown, we’ve brought you some of the real highs of the journey. Today I feel it’s time to focus on the other end of the scale as I recall one of the real low points in our conference journey, why? Not because I’m morbid or like pointing out our failings, but because looking back on the good times gives the impression the ride was smooth. Sometimes you have to remember those negative times to really appreciate how far we’ve come and in turn value the hard work that was put in.
They’ll no doubt be a question over why I’ve chosen this match over the 7-2 battering at the hands of Grimsby on New Years Day of the same year, that day we were poor and beaten by the better side, against Hayes & Yeading it was a different story – having achieved the feat of reaching Wembley in the FA Trophy, we should have been a side that fought to be winners. Instead we crumbled in the heat, felt uninspired by our surroundings and ultimately became the opposite of what we aspired to be. This game was chosen as a reminder of how low we sank and how far we had to climb.
It had been just under a month since the triumphant victory over Luton in the FA Trophy semi-final second leg and the big day at Wembley was fast approaching. Reaching the play-offs was a non-starter as was being relegated so already, with so many games remaining, it was a case of rubber stamping the fixture. With each game that passed each player became more and more cautious going into challenges, running that extra stride or in trying to influence the game – add to that the long journey and the mammoth challenge of four home games in the space of a week to follow, it’s not hard to see now why nobody cared about Hayes & Yeading Utd.
That’s not entirely true though as some people did care – the supporters. A full coach made the long trip to Hayes for the fixture hoping that some momentum could be found in the build up to Wembley, we knew we could do nothing in the league but we also knew that a good run, would put us in pole position to take home a trophy come May 7th.
Hayes & Yeading were, and still are, a small outfit with a small fan base following the merge of two clubs, Hayes FC and Yeading FC. The club had plans to move to a new ground and develop and were playing there final game at Church Road, the home of Hayes FC and the combined club since it’s 2007 merge. I always remember arriving at the ground and seeing the car park converted into a building site with several new homes already close to completion, in fact as we headed back to the coach at the end of the match, a delivery van had arrived with furniture!
The ground was old and reminiscent of Ebbsfleet, mainly terraced all the way around the facilities were basic and due to the forthcoming move, the stadium was uncared for as weeds and brambles began to creep through the cracks. There was a tiny stand which housed a tiny press box and a few supporters from both sides, it was here were I sat and witnessed the nightmare.
The performance was beyond poor, the tempo made snails seem like Usain Bolt and as for ability within the Stags side, quite simply there was none. I was reminded of the scene in Mike Bassett England Manager were our national side and held to a 0-0 draw by a nation of amateurs. Hayes & Yeading were part time and had one of the poorest budgets in the division yet managed to make Mansfield, a full time professional outfit, look like a laughing stock – Tyrone Thompson’s own goal was the tip of iceberg.
Played in un-bearable boiling summer sun, Hayes & Yeading to their credit where very quick to close Mansfield down, the home side gave Stags no space or time on the ball and that perhaps slightly explains Mansfield’s problem, unable to get hold of the ball it was the hosts who drew first blood with 12 on the clock, it came totally out of the blue as another dangerous attack should have been cleared by Mansfield, Lee Brown manoeuvred his way past Conor Higginson and into space which should have been occupied by Istead, Brown’s cross was headed home by the unmarked Bradley Pritchard from close range, how he wasn’t spotted running into the box or indeed picked up baffles me.
H&Y 1-0 Stags.
Mansfield should have levelled straight from the whistle, perhaps the only decent bit of ball play of the game from the Stags saw Paul Connor free in the centre, bursting into the home penalty area, his left footed shot was well wide of the target and his 10 games without a goal continued.
The home side again enjoyed time on the ball & looked like the mid table side with Mansfield looking like the relegation threatened side, Istead was beaten on the far side with twenty minutes gone by Crawley loanee Sam Rents, his cross was converted into a goal by Elliott Buchanan who headed home unmarked in space.
H&Y 2-0 Stags.
Five minutes later, Istead was again beaten on the far side, this time home captain Peter Holmes chipped in the ball, Elliott Buchanan doubled his tally volleying a shot towards goal unmarked, it clipped the post but unfortunately for lack lustre Mansfield, nestled in the back of the net.
H&Y 3-0 Stags.
Conor Higginson was then replaced by Kyle Nix as Mansfield desperately searched for some creativity, Nix picked up a loose ball in the centre and found Briscoe wide right, his shot from distance was easily held by the home keeper Shane McWeeney.
Things reverted to the afternoon’s norm as the hosts attacked well with Pritchard beating Sandwith who came in at left back, the home sides resulting corner was headed just over by Adam Bygrave who was unchallenged inside the area.
3-0 down away from home against a side struggling to stay in the league, what can we throw into make things worse? A red card! Paul Connor was judged to have elbowed Adam Bygrave whilst challenging for the ball in the air, the referee issued a straight red and Mansfield’s second top scorer headed off to the dressing room to watch the Grand National.
With a man less Mansfield opted to still play two up top, Briscoe moved forwards to partner Medley with Murray, Nix & Thompson pulling together to make a midfield three.
The home side where on top for the remainder of the half, the pick of the million chances to score fell to Steve Masterton, Pritchard’s perfectly timed ball through the middle saw the Hayes & Yeading man clean through, David Grof made himself big and did just enough to put off Masterton with his chipped strike landing wide.
HALF TIME: Hayes & Yeading 3-0 Stags.
With 53 on the clock, Steve Foster’s wayward clearance allowed hat-trick hunting Elliott Buchanan to pounce, luckily for Mansfield his effort was poor and landed harmlessly wide of the target.
Mansfield then threatened to score with half an hour left, Kyle Nix’s free kick from the left hand side was headed on by Briscoe, landing at the feet of Naylor at the far post who then smashed the ball into the side netting.
Adam Smith then came onto replace Luke Medley before Danny Mitchley replaced top scorer and a clearly shattered Louis Briscoe, the Stags opted for one upfront for the remainder of the game with Tyrone Thompson playing wide right & Smith wide left.
Naylor headed straight at McWeeney from another Nix free kick with 76minutes on the clock, but four minutes later it was Hayes & Yeading who grabbed a 4th, with a helping hand from Tyrone Thompson.
Powering down the left flank, it was Bradley Pritchard’s left wing cross that caused the trouble although for any other club it would be deemed poor and easy to deal with. Tyrone Thompson had acres of space and time to turn and clear the ball, yet decided to cushion the ball back to Grof, who expecting a turn & clear from Thompson had began to move away from his goal, Thompson cushion became a beautiful finish and a contender for Hayes & Yeading’s goal of the season, an instant YouTube hit.
H&Y 4-0 Stags.
Steve Foster wondered if McWeeney was still awake at the other end as he was so rarely tested he could have brought out a sun lounger for the second half and got himself a tan in the afternoon sun! In the last minute a rare Mansfield corner saw Foster free at the far post, his powerful shot was turned behind by McWeeney.
FULL TIME: Hayes & Yeading United 4-0 Mansfield Town.
Below enjoy an additional look down memory lane with video and photos from the day.
Written by Craig Priest – The views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations, to submit a blog email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mansfield Town 7-0 Barrow – Saturday 17th March 2012
During our Conference journey our beloved side played a total of 232 league matches, some were forgettable, some were average and others were magical – the match we remember today certainly was the latter as Stags opened the floodgates and couldn’t stop scoring.
The match in question is from the 2011/12 season and Paul Cox’s first season at the helm. Before Christmas we were another average mid-table side however Santa had clearly delivered some inspiration to our players as post Boxing Day they had lost just once prior to the match we remember in this blog. Cox’s men had won five on the spin and fought back bravely to deny league leaders and Champions elect Fleetwood maximum points – statistically Stags were the inform team with one of the best defences and best back lines in the division.
Opponents Barrow were one of those sides that tendered to cause Stags a little bit of trouble, they often flirted with the relegation zone yet exceeded expectation against the so called tough sides – supposedly we were a tough side and so the question was asked, could we break to curse of Barrow.
Our form had certainly changed and the euphoria and buzz from the dramatic mid-week draw against Fleetwood was still strong yet on the pitch we seem to recall a rather nervy start with leading hit man Matt Green missing his sparkle and missing a penalty midway through the first half with the score only 1-0.
The togetherness of the players and their determination to climb the table towards the play-offs was evident in the way Cox’s men broke, you look at the score-line and think arrogance and in a sense p-taking, it was far from it, it was professional and on reflection epitomized why the side achieved what they did that season.
Those who remember the day will know that individually it belonged to Louis Briscoe who netted yet another hat-trick to his collection. Two of his three, especially the third, we’re sweet as sugar and technically outstanding, we don’t think they’ll ever be a goal as well taken as that. It wasn’t just his technically spot on goal scoring which saw Briscoe stand out, but his all round play that day showed what a quality player he is on his day – his special awareness, movement and creativity shone.
We both felt a feeling of sorrow for Barrow’s supporters, defeats are hard to take but battering’s stay with your forever, it wasn’t that Barrow were poor (except from the left back Paul Edwards who cost his team at least two goals and a spot kick) it’s just that Stags clicked and everything paid off that day. The result set up an exciting week but again, looking back, it left a thought of what we could achieve as a club if we continued to play that way – a year or so on, we know!!
The match began at a much slower tempo than Tuesday’s ferocious battle however Stags were still out of the traps the brighter and were unfortunate not to be ahead with just two minutes on the clock. Luke O’Neill started the move with a looping ball to the far side, Matt Green did enough to force a deflection from the light blue shirt of a Barrow defender, with Louis Briscoe doing well to hold off former team mate Paul Edwards to gift the Stags a throw. Exodus Geohaghon launched in the first of the afternoon with Ross Dyers connecting header cannoning back out of the post before the hosts scrambled away for a second throw.
Four minutes later it was a sharp ball through the middle from Murray that sent Stags into the final third after a sustained spell of pressure, however Lindon Meikle was flagged marginally offside.
Mansfield kept pushing and we’re soon rewarded on eight minutes. Adam Murray’s fine switch of play from a low Meikle ball inside stretched the game wide to O’Neill, it was his deep cross that caught the visitors in a tizz. Ross Dyer won his battle flicking the ball to the left of the box for Green who proceeded to round the keeper and drill across the face of goal with the angle against him. Louis Briscoe did the rest, charging through the crowd to fire into the roof of the net, bagging the 190th goal between the two sides in the 54th meeting between the pair.
Stags 1-0 Barrow
On thirteen minutes the Stags broke in numbers, Lindon Meikle picked up the ball in the centre circle and charged forward with Dyer and Green the two supporting runners. Paul Edwards got a block in but the loose ball ran from Green whose acute touch sent Meikle racing through, an awfully timed challenged from Edwards, who three weeks ago was in the Stags side which edged past Tamworth at Field Mill, saw Meikle go to ground and the referee point to the spot for Mansfield’s fifth spot kick of the campaign. Matt Green stepped up having scored his last three from the spot, Ben Hutchinson took the other, The Stags leading front man failed to maintain his 100% record, seeing his tame penalty saved by Shaun Pearson, who sprung down to his left.
Pearson was soon picking the ball out of his net a second time though, as three minutes later Green showed his confidence hadn’t been dented with a fine charge. Latching onto Ritchie Sutton’s direction ball via the head of Howell and Dyer, the Stags front man picked up the ball on the left and drove at Barrow full back Kevin Lomax, before spotting the opportunity to shoot central – a crowd of bodies made this difficult but did create space for Briscoe, who Green spotted and picked out with a crisp low pass. Briscoe took one touch to set himself; leaving Edwards cuddling the pitch as he cut inside, before firing a beautiful effort left footed into the top corner.
Stags 2-0 Barrow
Mansfield had three more chances in quick succession to further extend their lead, on twenty minutes Ross Dyer held up play well in the centre circle before setting O’Neill free on the right. The Stags full back drove forward, cut past Edwards and fired a shot towards goal – Matt Green was the one Barrow players thanked as he couldn’t get out of the way, deflecting O’Neill’s goal bound shot wide of the target. A Paul Edwards slip then saw Lindon Meikle fire over from 18 yards on the half volley before Louis Briscoe was denied a hat-trick by Pearson, who made a fine save to keep out the thunderous drive following more creative play in the final third.
The third goal soon arrived as Paul Edwards slammed another ball out of play for a throw in, clearly he didn’t learn from his time at Field Mill that giving Mansfield a throw is more dangerous than a corner! Exodus Geohaghon made him pay, his 23rd minute rocket throw in found Anthony Howell at the front post, who glanced his header into the back of the net for his first goal in Mansfield colours.
Stags 3-0 Barrow
Three minutes later Howell could have had a second in a carbon copy move, Paul Edwards was again at fault and started an argument with Barrow skipper Phil Bolland and fellow defender Danny Hone before being promptly substituted along with striker Adam Boyes in a shock double change, which saw the blue birds go to five at the back, a desperate attempt to stop the Stags fluent and ruthless attack.
The defensive addition failed to work and Stags were on the charge once more, Lindon Meikle’s run down the left saw him play a low ball into space for Matt Green to run onto. The Stags leading front man blazed forward and pulled the trigger, hitting his off balance shot into the crowd of travelling supporters.
Barrow’s club motto ‘spatiari ut progrediaris’ translates as ‘Strive to attain progress’ – the only progress they were making was back towards their own goal.
A foul on Matt Green gave the Stags a free kick 30 yards from goal, Luke O’Neill’s cross was cleared however the Stags kept putting on the pressure and eventually heaped more misery on the visiting keeper, who after colliding with Geohaghon and Dyer, had to be stretchered off with a suspected broken collar bone.
Stags fans and players alike gave Pearson a warm round of applause as he headed off the pitch and to Kings Mill.
No mercy was shown on Pearson’s replacement Stuart Dixon, Barrow’s third and final sub, who was picking the ball out of the net on 41 minutes, moments after denying Greens dominant run forward. Lindon Meikle was the one on the score-sheet collecting the ball after Ross Dyer, Anthony Howell, Adam Murray and Louis Briscoe had all moved play to the feet of Matt Green on the edge of the box – Green’s lay off to Meikle saw the wing man cut in and curl a looping shot beyond the 19 year old shot stopper, two minutes into his bluebirds debut.
Stags 4-0 Barrow
Five minutes of stoppage time followed but Mansfield failed to add a fifth, heading into the dressing room four goals to the good.
Half Time: Stags 4-0 Barrow
The intention to find a fifth was clear from the second half’s starting whistle, Geohaghon’s left sided throw was hurled into the box and found Ross Dyer who smashed a fine effort wide from 10 yards, the ball certainly took a deflection but at the speed of light, it was impossible to tell who from – the referee awarded a goal kick.
On 51 minutes a neat passage of play saw Mansfield a whisker away from a fifth, Ross Dyer’s low pass to O’Neill saw the Stags right back chip neatly to Briscoe on the right who burst past Alex-Ray Harvey and drill a fine ball across the face of goal – nobody could get a touch and Barrow survived, but it was only a matter of minutes until goal number five did arrive as the Stags struck once more.
Luke O’Neill was creator and Exodus Geohaghon the tormentor, the formers first corner replicated Tuesday night’s dramatic leveller, finding Geohaghon naturally towering above the rest. The Darlington loan mans bullet header was scrambled off the line for a second corner which O’Neill again took. This time it was Martin Riley who was the decoy taking with him four defenders, going from the front post to the back post where, despite the marking, he headed back into space – Matt Green completed the job, heading home his 24th goal of the season and making amends for his first half spot-kick woe.
Stags 5-0 Barrow
Geohaghon then headed over from another O’Neill corner before the visiting defences problems got worse with the addition of Matt Rhead for Matt Green, the former Corby man was on the pitch a matter of minutes before playing a key part in Mansfield 6th of the afternoon, coming on 67 minutes as Louis Briscoe sensationally completed his second Stags hat-trick.
Exodus Geohaghon’s 15th throw in Barrow territory created the goal, with the bullet throw launched towards Rhead. Rhead rose above three markers to cushion the ball to the chest of Louis Briscoe on the edge of the area. Given miles of space due to the tight marking on Rhead, Briscoe controlled with his chest, knee and then let the ball drop, smashing home on the volley into the top corner – grabbing his second five days shy of a year since his first at Histon and giving Mansfield a 6-0 score line for the first time since the 2003/04 season when a Neil MacKenzie treble helped dump Bishop’s Stortford out of the FA Cup.
Stags 6-0 Barrow
Barrow did have the ball in the net on 71 minutes when Andy Cook bundled home; however there was no point even celebrating as the flag was up for offside on the far side well before the ball trickled in.
The Stags then added a seventh as Barrow’s afternoon got worse. A charge through the middle saw Lindon Meikle with a sight of goal, the winger had acres of time and space on the ball and eventually played Matt Rhead into the area, who after controlling with a yawn, drilled underneath the teenage shot stopper to open his account for the Stags
Stags 7-0 Barrow
The bluebirds had given up and in all honesty, the Stags didn’t have to get out of second gear to create more chances, not contempt with seven as chants of ‘we want eight’ roared out from the stands. Luke O’Neill’s 81st minute corner saw Matt Rhead and then Exodus Geohaghon denied after Dixon had dropped the ball to the formers feet.
A half late scare followed as a low cross from Paul Rutherford awoke Alan Marriott who was more than happy to have a touch! Normality was restored late on as substitute Ben Hutchinson, on for Ross Dyer, earned numerous free kicks with nippy runs. O’Neill delivered on from deep with four minutes left, Anthony Howell’s header was well saved by Dixon. A minute later smart play between Briscoe and O’Neill saw the latter steaming down on goal, the full back failed to find an 8th to match Mansfield’s biggest ever win, firing into the side netting.
Debutant Danny Andrew, on at left back for Ritchie Sutton, then showed his dead ball quality in stoppage time, curing a beautiful effort into the keepers grateful hands after Matt Rhead was fouled.
The full time whistle soon blew to end Barrow’s afternoon of misery, the stags netting seven for the first time since Boxing Day 1994 (a 7-1 victory over Hereford at Field Mill) and their first 7-0 victory since beating Scunthorpe by the same score line at Field Mill on the 21st April 1975.
Full Time: Stags 7-0 Barrow
Below enjoy an additional look down memory lane with video, audio and photos from the day.
Written by Craig Priest and Emily Sykes – The views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations, to submit a blog email email@example.com
Ebbsfleet United 2-2 Mansfield Town – Saturday 9th August 2008 3.00pm
The image of Adam Murray holding the conference trophy aloft and getting drenched in Champagne on the One Call Stadium turf will be long remembered as on Saturday 20th April 2013, Mansfield Town finally banished the demons and returned to the football league. It was the end of a five season journey which saw more turns that spaghetti junction and is a moment, as I mentioned, which will be remembered forever – but what about the start of the story into the unknown?
I guess technically it all began with the goalless draw between Chester City and Stockport County and the point which mathematically condemned Stags to life in non-league football, however I’m classing the start as our trip to Ebbsfleet United on the 9th August 2008 – the first time we kicked a ball on unknown turf, the first time we we’re the new boys.
I’ve been following Stags since roughly 2002 and at the start of every season there’s always been the feeling of “here we go again” – we we’re always a league club and knew what to expect, standing on that cracked terracing at Ebbsfleet though, nobody knew what to expect and that feeling of “here we go again” became one of panic, confusion and sadly, arrogance.
The close season was a nightmare; the hurt of relegation was still rife as the season’s opener with Ebbsfleet approached. The close season had provided a takeover in ownership and in turn management, however anyone that had closely analysed the handful of pre-season friendlies could tell that our squad was sparse – deep down there was a sense we we’re in for a bumpy ride however you don’t admit that as it’s an unwritten football supporting law to say before a ball was kicked, that your side would end up champions especially when you’re playing in the division lower than the previous season.
That’s just the way it is, promoted teams are tipped to go straight back down whilst relegated teams are hotly tipped to bounce straight back.
In our hearts we desperately craved for that to come true which began to send arrogant blood pumping through our veins – in our heads we we’re still a football league team and shouldn’t be running shoulders with the likes of part time conference teams such as Ebbsfleet. In our heads we we’re world beaters and had already won the title, we’d smashed every team and this awkward fact of being in the conference was just a minor inconvenience – looking back now, it was always a recipe for disaster!
Not for a second will I deny having these thoughts as I took my seat on the SSA coach that morning, it was the start of a one season journey that would end in triumph – together with fellow fans and my family, we laughed and joked about how the season would turn out, it was a very spirited journey with a sense of happiness that football was back, however it didn’t last and as we pulled onto the main road adjacent to Ebbsfleet’s ground – the laughing and joking turned to a bitter silence.
Usually when the coach parks up everyone is up and off to the pub with in the flash of a second, eagerly anticipating the afternoon’s football – not this time. I remember the coach being deadly silent and passengers looking out of the window at our destination. No disrespect is intended to Ebbsfleet United here but it was a massive culture shock. We could see the floodlights from the main road but no turnstiles, we could however see a club car park (written on a decaying plastic board with fading sticky letters and nailed to a brick wall), inside the un-tarmacked car park were several rusty scrap vehicles becoming tangled in growing weeds. Several puddles reflected the glum faces of shocked and taken-aback fans when suddenly there was movement, a slow trickle of people stepped off the coach.
The three of us (myself, my dad and my brother) followed the silent moving cue and as I stepped off the coach, I turned to the two of them and said “you know that conversation we had about this being an easy ride, forget it – welcome to the unknown” – there silence spoke volumes.
One of the Stags fans had asked a local where the local pub was and pointed to a small building on the edge of a roundabout, a coach load pilled in and were soon literally helping themselves behind the bar on the say so of the landlady who and I quote, was expecting “50 fans at best” – yeah right!
Kick-Off crept closer and the three of us made our way from this cramped, amber & blue flooded pub, back towards the ground in search of a turnstile. We found one on the main road which we missed on the way to the pub, above it there was a sign I’ll never forget it read “Conference Match No.1” – it was then I had a sinking feeling that our magical vision of a one season wonder would be everything but.
Eventually we found the away turnstile, accessed through that museum of rusting old vehicles, weeds and puddles. One inside the scenery got no better as we were directed onto the behind goal open to the elements terracing – a terracing which was far from level, had numerous cracks and weeds growing through it. I stood right at the back and looked up to see a telephone pillion run low overhead before turning to my left and looking at the main stand. A small covered seating area which had a mixture of uneven plastic seating and splinter clad wooden benches was the view; the crumbling paint left me speechless.
Obviously we had arrived at a tired ground; all we could hope for was for football to be our saviour. Our brand new squad, assembled majorly the night before, soon descended on the pitch with Ebbsfleet who the previous season, under their former name, had won the FA Trophy. Stags were in there white away strip with Ebbsfleet in red, a roar of “come on you Stags” before kick-off installed the feeling that everything would be alright, however 45 minutes later we we’re red in the face – getting rained on by the miserable shower above, watching our side struggle and trail by two goals. I turned to those around me and said “welcome to the conference folks”.
The second half saw a spirited Stags fight back as Michael Blackwood made history netting Stags first goal outside the football league before a combination of Jason Lee’s shaven pineapple head and Mark Stallard’s left buttock rescued a draw late on – as we headed back to the coach feeling dejected and sucker-punched, barley anyone spoke. Mansfield Town, the world beaters, the champions elect, the football league side – had scrapped a draw with Ebbsfleet United, it was a long drive home!
I look back fondly on that day in honesty as not only was it the start of what proved to be a beautiful tale, but it taught us so much about life in the conference. We we’re taught the hard way to respect other grounds, other team’s desire and that we we’re here because in the past we simply weren’t good enough to compete. We began the day with arrogance thinking we we’re better than everyone else, we ended it with a new found vision, we ended it respectful of others and began the long process of accepting our situation – had we been at home and won, I don’t think that would have ever happened and maybe, we would have ended up like other arrogant “we’re better than you” clubs that are currently in the conference, going nowhere fast!
It took a long time to evolve and for the dream to become reality, every time you remember how it ended, spare a thought for where it began, that way the ending becomes that little bit more special and sweet.
Written by Craig Priest– The views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations, to submit a blog email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Copyright Paul Jarvis (Ebbsfleet)
Mansfield Town 0-1 Darlington (AET) – Saturday 7th May 2011 3.00pm
After years of turbulence it was always difficult to foresee light at the end of the tunnel, however on Saturday 7th May 2011 Mansfield Town found that light and whilst it didn’t shine completely, the glimpse was enough to kill that stabbing pain of prolonged misery.
It had been a season which provided little highs but several lows including the club being locked out of The One Call Stadium and several beatings by part time and lesser ranked sides. Poor performances and lack lustre effort went hand in hand, the only saviour being the plucky FA Trophy campaign which somehow unbelievably led to the Wembley final.
It all began in turbulent circumstances as the club were locked out of their One Call Stadium home by then landlord Keith Haslam. The area was awash with snow and naturally games were few and far between, along with the Stags off field troubles they were also without a manager following the sacking of David Holdsworth – you can see now why nobody cared or gave much hope about a first round tie in a meaningless competition, played on a below freezing Tuesday night on a ground which belonged to nor us or our opponents.
Officially Worksop Town were the home side as their home at the time couldn’t facilitate the demand of the supporters, Stags on the other hand were facing the prospect of Ilkeston’s New Manor Ground becoming their temporary home – it didn’t feel very homely amongst the crowd.
Duncan Russell’s side came through the fixture with ease against their lower ranked opponents with a 5-0 victory. A month or so later with ground issues resolved and Duncan Russell appointed until the end of the season it was Newport County who the Stags passed in round two before replay victories against Alfreton and Chasetown set up a tasty semi-final with Luton, we all know what happened there.
Somehow Stags had made it to Wembley and from the second that Briscoe’s winner hit the net at Luton, Wembley fever swept the Town. Commemorative t-shirts were made to an excellent standard by one of us whilst the other hosted a weeks’ worth of preview shows in the build up to the big day. On the pitch League results suffered as players aimed to avoid injury or suspension in their bid to play on the hallowed turf – whilst this was frustrating at the time you can understand why now.
The two of us hadn’t met at this stage and so had totally separate perspectives and views on the day, one travelled down covered in amber and blue with their family, the elders reminiscing about old times with fellow travellers whilst the younger dreamt of witnessing a day of Stags success. The other one of us barely slept and at 6am stood nervously buttoning the shirt of their suit shaking at the prospect of commentating on their beloved side after less than two months as a commentator. The journey with their dad and work colleague passed watching the flocks of amber and blue descend on Wembley Way.
The pre match atmosphere came and went Craig recalls walking in to the press box with Wembley empty and watching each seat be filled at a steady pace – by the time the teams came out one half of Wembley had turned amber and blue. Seconds before going on air Craig recalls looking up to the sky and then around looking for family and friends hoping that this would be the day. Meanwhile mixed in with the supporters Em sat with family, proud at seeing her work displayed on so many again wondering if this would be the day.
The match itself was one of the poorest finals ever played as it involved two tired and low on energy patchwork sides – Stags failed to fill their bench whilst Darlington had numerous injuries, they were forced to play players out of position.
Mansfield had the honour of getting the FA Trophy Final underway and registered the first chance early on as proud Skipper Adam Murray created space and slotted the ball into a pocket of space for the returning Paul Connor to run onto, Connor timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap but his first touch was heavy which allowed Darlington keeper Sam Russell to race from his line and smother up the loose ball before Connor could pull the trigger.
Darlington tested the water with an 11th minute corner which Marriott dealt with calmly before Stags forced their first corner four minutes later. Adam Murray found Louis Briscoe wide right with an excellent pass, Briscoe burst into the box and Darlington skipper Ian Miller had no option but to concede a corner. Kyle Nix floated the ball in with his left foot and as Darlington keeper Russell came for the ball, Steve Foster jumped too – Foster won the Ariel battle but failed to direct hit the target and nodded over the bar.
The pendulum of chances kept swinging from side to side but neither team managed to convert any chances as half time drew closer, Paul Connor just needed that extra half a yard of pace and the story could have been extremely different.
HALF TIME: Mansfield Town 0-0 Darlington.
After the break it was Stags who created the first clear cut chance on 51 minutes as Adam Smith picked up the ball wide left and showing some nifty foot work to come inside and shoot from the edge of the box right footed, his shot nestling into the side netting much to the disappointment of the Stags fans behind the goal, preparing to jump up in celebration!
Moments later the Stags faithful were on their feet once more as semi-final hero Louis Briscoe danced his way past his marker on the right after a neat pass by Murray, Briscoe cut inside and moving neatly into the area pulled the trigger left footed, instinctively Paul Connor had arrived waiting for a chance, he stuck his boot out and Briscoe’s effort became Connor’s effort – landing a hairs with over the top of the bar – agony as another chance went begging.
Typically the pendulum swing the other way as the game progressed with Darlington in search of Trophy glory for the first time ever in their history, With 56 minutes gone John Campbell drifted wide and shrugged off the challenge from Gary Silk, comfortably teeing up the advancing Tommy Wright, Dan Spence prevented Wright from scoring with a timed to perfection strong challenge inside the area after racing back from the half way line.
With half an hour remaining skipper Murray needed options as he became pressured in the centre, with a neat turn he opened up and found space for Paul Connor, threading the ball through the defence like threading cotton through the eye of a needle – Connor latched onto the excellent ball but tiredness and frustration showed over adrenaline, with the former Lincoln front man timely firing at Russell who saved well.
Stuart Atwell lost complete control of the game in the last five minutes as extra time loomed, first he penalised Tom Naylor during an Ariel battle when in fact it was Naylor who was the victim, not the offender. With two minutes left Atwell then got another decision wrong, Darlington surged forwards and Tyrone Thompson raced back to help out, sliding in to prevent Aman Verma a way through – Atwell deemed Thompson to take nothing of the ball, yet big screen replays showed that Thompson too ALL of the ball and nothing of the player, the only thing taking Verma down was momentum.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson stepped up to take the resulting free kick and curled the ball well over & round the 5man Mansfield wall, Marriott was beaten and could only watch on as the ball smashed the post and luckily bounced back out far enough for Mansfield to scramble clear.
Two minutes of additional time followed and Mansfield burst forwards, the impressive Adam Smith never stopped running and his quick feet opened up a crossing opportunity wide left, Briscoe lurked at the far post and had Russell not punched the cross over Briscoe’s head and out for a throw – Briscoe would have smashed home in front of the Mansfield support. Atwell again caused Mansfield frustration penalising Briscoe for shirt pulling after getting the ball from the resulting throw, however Darlington were not allowed time to take the kick as Atwell condemned the game to extra time.
FULL TIME: Mansfield 0-0 Darlington.
Mansfield knew it would take something or someone special to break the painfully tense deadlock, having done it to reach Wembley it the first place the Mansfield support remained positive but wondered when Duncan Russell would introduce fresh legs.
Just four minutes into the first half of extra time, Ashley Cain came onto replace the outstanding Adam Smith who covered every bit of the Wembley grass fighting for his team, Cain’s first action was to tee up Briscoe for an effort however again it was off target, at the other end Tommy Wright also struck wide as the first additional fifteen minutes came to an end.
EXTRA TIME – HALF TIME: Mansfield 0-0 Darlington!
With both sides now 15minutes of football away from the painful lottery of penalties, they were given a boost by attacking the goals which hosted their respective supporters. Darlington used this boost first as Chris Senior broke free pulling the trigger inside the box, however Veteran Steve Foster got a vital touch and diverted the goal bound ball into the grateful hands of Alan Marriott.
With 107 minutes of football played at Wembley stadium, Duncan Russell made a second change introducing Danny Mitchley for skipper Adam Murray who was seemingly unable to carry on after several late knocks had literally taken the stuffing out of Mansfield’s heroic captain.
Murray’s replacement Mitchley continued the high standard of passing movement set, releasing Cain wide right whose electric pace saw him float the ball into the box, Paul Connor was first too it and headed over the bar from around 3 yards out.
Tommy Wright continued to be a threat inside the Mansfield box, heading past Marriott from a corner, Thompson undid several wrong decisions from early in the game by scrambling clear from the goal line, the loose ball fell in the air to Chris Senior who powered a header towards goal, Alan Marriott sprung himself up well and with the finger tip of his glove pushed the ball over for another corner.
With 118 minutes gone, the same time Mansfield scored at Luton; Cain flashed forwards again and earned a corner in front of the Mansfield faithful – his right footed out swinger flashed over the penalty box and away for a throw in.
Two minutes later with everybody awaiting penalties, the goal pendulum finally landed – in Darlington’s court. Aaron Browns long through from the left touch line wasn’t dealt with and amongst a number of players, Alan Marriott couldn’t punch clear, an inch away from goal Chris Senior got the final touch, Mansfield tried to clear but too little too late as the ball crossed the line and broke Mansfield hearts – winning Darlington the FA Trophy with seconds left.
Mansfield 0-1 Darlington.
Two minutes of additional time passed like mille-seconds but the drama wasn’t over, the pain got deeper as Mansfield attacked, earning a free kick just off the right flank, Cain took it and the stags threw everyone bar foster forward, including Alan Marriott. Cain’s delivery was pinpoint and had Marriott been an inch taller he would have connected, however Darlington rode the last Mansfield wave with ease and as the less than impressive Stewart Atwell blew his whistle, tears of pain returned as Mansfield’s dreams where cruelly crushed.
EXTRA TIME – FULL TIME: Mansfield 0-1 Darlington.
There were tears from the majority of Stags fans as that late pain stabbed into the heart, Craig recalls talking on air with tears streaming down his face whilst Em recalls a long journey home wondering if the good times would ever come.
With time comes appreciation and it’s only now years on that we can fully appreciate that day, after so much hurt following the club and numerous dark times, we had a day at the national stadium watching our club battle for glory. Defeat doesn’t matter as each and every person that went to Wembley that day has a story to tell and an everlasting memory – through all the darkness, light can be found.
Below enjoy an additional look down memory lane with video and audio from the day.
Written by Craig Priest and Emily Sykes – The views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations, to submit a blog email email@example.com
Photo Gallery (Behind The Scenes With Takeover)
Craig Priest and Emily Sykes write…
Following today’s Capital One’s First Round Cup draw we’re beginning to get a bit antsy here at Mansfield Matters HQ. Personally we will be glad when we’ve seen the back of paperwork and begin to see the heavenly site of a glorious green football pitch.
It was rather exciting this morning to see us in a proper competition and not having that fear of drawing the likes of Droylsden, Workington, Matlock etc – no disrespect intended to them but the lure of proper incentive based competition cannot be ignored, Tranmere will pose a good test and whilst some may see it as an anti-climax we see it as a good chance to dip our toes back in the Football League water.
The next big event is the release of the fixtures on Wednesday we think the fact we are a Football League Club again will sink in properly then. For now though there is no excitement and in truth it is all a bit boring at the moment, apart from the kit release there has been no real news for us to mull over – on reflection though is this a good thing?
This time last year after the heartbreak of the play-off semi-final defeat Paul Cox had pretty much assembled his new squad for the forthcoming season, a move which you can’t deny backfired in the early stages of last season. There was a very busy pre-season schedule which provided plenty of game time for Cox and his management team to cast their eye over the squad, by the end however it still wasn’t clear which set of players were considered the strongest. Looking at this year’s pre-season schedule it is again gruelling with two games in as many days scheduled on more than one occasion – let’s hope that by the end of pre-season there will be a more settled nature regarding team selection, we are sure there will be judging by our transfer activity so far.
It does seem like we have signed an overload of midfielders again the difference though is the quality outweighs the quantity, we haven’t signed players for the sake of signing players like last year. Perhaps there is a feeling that we haven’t done enough business yet but we both are happy with the way things are shaping up, as long as a few creases are taken care of in the next week or so aka the future of Matt Green and some news/clarification on the situation of John Dempster and more importantly player/coach Andy Todd – if we are to take our Championship winning ethos then his signature is critical. For now though we will keep playing the waiting game safe in the knowledge that football is creeping ever closer. Before we sign off we’d like to thank those that have signed up to our quiz so far securing this funding is vital should we wish to continue next season. We have put together a fair yet testing set of questions and have some great prizes on offer, click here to find out more. Alternatively should you wish to donate but simply don’t have time to take on the quiz you can do so by clicking here – we appreciate and welcome all donations.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations.
As you may have seen on our home page or via twitter over the past few days, we are going to be hosting a quiz in order to raise funds ahead of the forthcoming season.
The reason behind staging the quiz is in order to raise much needed funds which hopefully will go a long way to covering the cost of coverage for the highly anticipated 2013-14 season, the Stags first back in the football league after winning the conference last term.
Coverage has cost nothing bar expenses for travel and kit maintenance over the past two and a half seasons since Mansfield Matters began due to the clubs standing in the conference, however now the club are back in the league, should we wish to continue broadcasting coverage we will be required to pay a fee, as would other broadcasters which has been documented on other websites.
The quiz is something we’ve done for fun before on twitter and something which has been enjoyed, with this in mind we felt it the best way to raise additional funds.
The fundraiser quiz is open to everyone and costs a minimum of £10 by way of donation (you will be sent the link once you have submitted your details using the form below). There is NO CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRANTS, however those who wish to take part MUST submit their answers either by email or post (again full details will be sent upon receiving your details via the below form) by 7pm on Friday 5th July 2013.
Once you have submitted your details and we have received confirmation of your donation you will be sent your quiz sheet via email, the quiz comprises of 50 questions which are about the five years Mansfield have spent in the conference. We kindly ask entrants NOT to cheat using aids such as Google or related research websites, please be honest with your answers.
There are currently two prizes for the quiz, the overall winner will receive a bottle of expensive champagne, along with a signed copy of Stephen Thrikill’s ‘Mansfield Town’s 25 most memorable matches’ which will include a special hidden extra. Providing that a certain number of people enter, there will also be a cash prize in addition – Please note the cash prize is not guaranteed and depends on the number of overall entrants.
The runners up will also receive a signed copy of the popular book which is included in a surprise ‘champions’ themed goodie-bag.
Should you have anything you wish to donate as an extra prize for the quiz, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We really need support on this and urge anyone that has enjoyed what we’ve done over the past two and a half years to participate in the quiz. To enter simply submit your name and email address using the form below – once we have received your details we’ll email you with the link to donate and subsequently send your quiz sheet.
Tenure: 19th May 2011 – Present
Former Club: Eastwood Town FC
Competitive Games In Charge: 105 (W 58, D 24, L 23) [League, FA Cup, FA Trophy]
Coaching & Backroom Staff: Micky Moore (Assistant Manager 2011/12), Adam Murray (Player Assistant Manager 2012/Present), Andy Todd (Player Coach 2011/Present), Richard Cooper (First Team Coach 2012/Present), Paul Ogden (Chief Scout 2011/Present)
Win Percentage: 55.23%
Arguably the most successful Manager in the club’s history, or at least since the late Ian Greaves, Paul Cox has performed nothing short of a miracle in taking our beloved club back to the promise land of the football league.
The 41 year old has taken a club with a negative ethos and transformed it into a club which breeds success from top to bottom, putting in place a structure which could see local young players rise through the ranks and become professional footballers with their hometown club – an action which certainly suits his opening statement to the press that ‘success is built on strong foundations’.
Fate is often a funny thing, we dare not imagine where Stags would be had Cox been appointed the previous two times he applied for the job – the most notable when Billy McEwan was dismissed back in 2008, would he have been given a fair crack of the whip by the previous owners, personally we don’t think so – Paul Cox has been allowed to succeed because of the faith shown in him by John Radford.
Eventually Cox was handed the job just weeks after our defeat at Wembley and began the mammoth task of rebuilding the club after yet more heartbreak, however perhaps his toughest task was to reinstall the faith and love in the supporters who at that point were perhaps ready to walk away.
The first pre-season as we know was eventful and Cox’s patience was put to the test, he grabbed the headlines when he withdrew his players from the pitch at Ilkeston in that ill-fated pre-season friendly, you could see then what a passionate and caring manager he is.
Some fans may have to hold their hands up here and admit they didn’t buy into Cox’s philosophy as by mid-December it looked like another season wasted however post-Christmas it all changed as Stags embarked on that tremendous run which saw them finish in the playoffs. Defeat was hard to take and in some ways mistakes may have been made in trying to repair the damage and once again some fans may have to hold their hands up and admit they called for the former Eastwood man to be sacked, especially when we were getting battered in virtually every away game at the start of the season just gone.
Through all the turbulence there was only one person’s opinion that mattered, the Chairman John Radford – because of his faith Cox was allowed to continue and once again that post-Christmas magic began. Thirteen consecutive wins plus that FA Cup match with Liverpool will be remembered for a long time and the end result naturally not forgotten either – that title win totally epitomised Paul Cox’s management style: even when things are against you, you never give up.
During his tenure so far there have been mistakes whether it be with team selection or signings but nobody is perfect, what matters is results and that something the former Notts County defender certainly gets – League 2 will be a journey that will be taken together, we feel that more success is just around the corner so long as Cox is at the helm.
Written by Craig Priest and Emily Sykes.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations.
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